Buying a house, any house, is not a spontaneous decision. There is much to consider with such an important investment. Buying a house with water damage adds a whole new level to the depth of considerations when deciding on a home to purchase.
Below are a few steps and tips to keep in mind when contemplating the purchase of a house that has water damage. Carefully weighing the facts and being realistic about your budget and risk tolerance is crucial. The same items that could be a deal breaker for you may not even faze another potential buyer. Gather all the facts and if you decide to purchase, be vigilant about repairs and proactive about preventing future water damage.
First Step: Get a Home Inspection to Determine the Damage
When buying a house that has water damage, be sure to have it inspected by a certified home inspector. Additionally, you may choose to get an additional inspection from a foundation specialist depending on where the damage is. Also make sure you ask for copies of all home inspection reports. Be sure to ask:
- Where is the damage? Water damage can occur from the roof to the basement or anywhere in between. Be sure that the roof, walls, ceilings, and especially basement are inspected. Keep in mind that gravity is like a water magnet. Water finds its way to the lowest point. Even if a leak happened in a second-story bathroom, the potential that water has damaged the first floor and the basement is likely.
- What caused the damage? Occasionally, a faulty appliance is the culprit. An overflowing bathtub or washer may have caused significant flooding, but it may also have been addressed immediately which would be in your favor.
There are other sources of water damage that could have been ongoing and possibly undetected. Undetected means untreated, and therefore usually means more significant damage. Since basements are the home’s lowest point, there is a good chance that water damage anywhere in the home means water also found its way to the basement. Additional sources of water damage may include:
- Leaky pipe(s) – A slow leak, especially under a sink or behind an appliance, may not show obvious signs of damage until it has saturated the subfloor and/or ceiling below. A faulty O-ring can cause water damage around a toilet that rots the surrounding floor and sends water to the basement below.
- Crack(s) in the foundation – Cracks can lead to water damage in the basement and, if left untreated, can eventually affect the stability of the foundation of the home.
- Land grading issues – Water damage can occur when rain water is not diverted away from the home. Water is natural; water in your basement is not!
- Drainage failure – If water fails to drain away from the home it will, of course, seek the lowest point and that means your foundation. If a drainage failure is the cause of the home’s water damage, it will have to be addressed to avoid future damage.
What will be needed to repair the damage? Following the inspection, get an estimate for necessary repairs. Provide them a copy of the home inspection report.
- Some repairs are easy and inexpensive. Some such repairs could be done yourself.
- Major flooding/water damage might indicate more extensive repairs are needed.
Contract a Mold Inspector
Keep in mind that it is not a certified home inspector’s job to advise you whether or not to purchase the home. They are also not required to determine the presence of mold, toxins or other allergens. So, in some cases, you may need a separate mold specialist or contractor to detect mold.
Water damage is a very likely source of mold growth. If water has been sitting for a week or longer, there is almost certainly some degree of mold. Mold growth can be harmful to people and pets, it’s important to remove it after its source of moisture is repaired. If you find mold, it can only be dealt with after the waterproofing issue is handled or else it will simply come right back.
Every Home is Susceptible to Water Damage
Water damage doesn’t have to be an immediate deal-breaker. Any home is susceptible to flooding or drainage issues – waterproofing is the best way to prevent it from happening – or happening again.
Knowing the issues with a home can help you prevent them in the future. Once you have a thorough inspection and remediation quotes you can determine if purchasing a home with water damage is the right choice for you.
Schedule a Waterproofing Consultation
If you’ve moved forward with purchasing the home, make sure to look into waterproofing solutions. Remember, if the water source has not been properly addressed, you can expect a repeat water-damage performance somewhere down the road.
If a house has flooded in the past, it’s important to look into preventing future flooding. (This is true even for homes that haven’t experienced previous flooding)
Schedule Your FREE 20-Point Inspection
The best way to keep your basement dry is with professional waterproofing. EverDry Toledo can help with a FREE 20-point basement inspection! We’ll help you find out if your home is at risk for water damage and which solutions will best serve you.
Contact us online to schedule an appointment or give us a call at (419) 469-5833 and schedule your inspection today!
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